Scripture Reading — Isaiah 61
He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. — Matthew 3:16
A young boy reflected on the baptism he saw one Sunday morning during a worship service. His family was driving home afterward, and this brother of the child who had been baptized began to cry in the back seat. He continued all the way home. Three times his dad asked him what was wrong. Finally, the boy blurted out, “The preacher said he wanted us to be brought up in a Christian home, but I want to stay with you guys!”
Those who are baptized struggle like everyone else to be decent people. We are tempted like everyone else to be less than God created us to be, but in Jesus, God gives us spiritual power to choose a better way.
Jesus’ baptism was his “ordination” into public ministry. He was forever God’s much-loved Son. But his baptism launched his earthly ministry. In the same way, baptism launches our ministry too. It is, in a very real way, our ordination service. In our baptism the Holy Spirit pledges his presence in our lives. We now live the rest of our lives inside the promise that his heavenly strength enables us to live and work for God’s pleasure.
John Chrysostom said the dove at Jesus’ baptism appears to point out that this was God’s Son, and it teaches us also “that upon you no less at your baptism the Spirit comes.”
Father, most of the time we seriously underestimate the gifts you give us in baptism. Help us to receive them, and to put them into practice. In Jesus’ name and the Spirit’s power, Amen.